Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Federal Assistance for Wildfire Response and Recovery
This report briefly discusses the options for federal support and assistance for areas affected by wildfire disasters, including the period during wildfires, in the aftermath, and subsequently for preventing a recurrence.
Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism
This report provides background information regarding the prison population in the United States that has been growing steadily for more than 30 years. The report presents correctional system statistics and discusses the federal government's involvement in offender reentry programs and the Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199) that was enacted on April 9, 2008.
China's Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States
This report provides background on China's economic rise, describes its current economic structure, identifies the challenges China faces to maintain economic growth, and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and implications for the United States.
Follow-On Biologics: The Law and Intellectual Property Issues
This report reviews the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA), within the context of intellectual property and innovation issues. It provides an introduction to the biologics industry, introduces the regulatory and intellectual property provisions of the BPCIA, considers the potential market for biosimilars and possible industry responses that may arise in the wake of this legislation, and closes with concluding observations.
The Palestinians: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of current issues in U.S.-Palestinian relations. It also contains an overview of Palestinian society and politics and descriptions of key Palestinian individuals and groups--chiefly the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian refugee population.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides examples, based on a wide range of open source reporting, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran.
U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations During President Obama's First Five Years: Comparative Analysis With Recent Presidents
This report concerns nominations made by President Obama and other recent Presidents to the U.S. circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. district courts. It discusses the selection and confirmation process for U.S. circuit and district court judges.
Northern Ireland: The Peace Process
This report provides background information regarding political violence and the peace process in Northern Ireland. It includes further information about the devolved government and recurrent crises (1999-2002, 2003-2007 and 2008-2010), implementation of police reforms, recent events and ongoing challenges, relevant U.S. policy, and recent legislation.
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses the recent development regarding the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. It provides background information on Iranian nuclear program and debates the November 24 Joint Plan of Action Elements.
Tax Deductions for Individuals: A Summary
This report first describes what tax deductions are, how they vary in their effects on reducing taxable income, and how they differ from other provisions (e.g., exclusions or credits). Next, it discusses the rationale for deductions as part of the tax code. The final section of this report includes tables that summarize each individual tax deduction, under current law. Many of these deductions are part of the permanent income tax code.
Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP): Implementation and Status
This report provides a brief outline of the programs created under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), changes made by Congress, and a summary of the current status and estimated costs of the program. It also provides an Appendix that contains detailed discussions of the individual TARP programs.
Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorizations, Appropriations, and Activities
This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the Army Corps of Engineers. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities. Congress directs the Corps through authorizations, appropriations, and oversight of its studies, construction projects, and other activities.
Social Security Reform: Current Issues and Legislation
This report discusses The Social Security reform, which is an issue of interest to policy makers that arises in various contexts, from improving retirement security to reducing federal budget deficits. The report looks at the Social Security debate, Social Security future projections, and public opinion on Social Security reform. It also looks at past reform measures, from the 109th-112th Congress, none of which received congressional action.
Food Fraud and "Economically Motivated Adulteration" of Food and Food Ingredients
This report discusses food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food and food ingredients for economic gain. It includes background information, an overview of available data and information repositories related to food fraud, federal activities involving food fraud, and Congressional actions involving food fraud.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Annual Fee on Health Insurers
This report discusses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148) and the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152) that impose a fee on certain for-profit health insurers, starting in 2014.
Selected Legislative Proposals to Reform the Housing Finance System
This report briefly explains the different approaches to housing finance reform offered by several legislative proposals, focusing on efforts to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to reform the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
Sex Trafficking of Children in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses human trafficking that involves the exploitation of individuals for forced labor or commercial sex.
Sugar Program: The Basics
This report discusses the sugar program that provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets, and in turn, to the producers of both crops.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. It contains three tables organized by region that list the date of each country's independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, the CIA's Open Source, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. It contains three tables organized by region that list the date of each country's independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, the CIA's Open Source, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. It contains three tables organized by region that list the date of each country's independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, the CIA's Open Source, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report provides a list of roughly 200 congressional liaison offices with phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information.
Retirement and Survivor Annuities for Former Spouses of Federal Employees
This report discusses the retirement benefits for federal employees that are governed by chapters 83 (CSRS) and 84 (FERS) of Title 5 of the United States Code.
Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report describes the relationship between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman, especially with respect to Oman's support of U.S. efforts toward peace in the Middle East, the U.S. free trade agreement with Oman, and Oman's relatively close relations with Iran.
Terrorism Risk Insurance: Issue Analysis and Overview of Current Program
This report looks at the background and current Congressional status of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002.
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
The report discusses recently-enacted legislation and legislation introduced in the 113th Congress related to the Federal Reserve (Fed). It also provides information about the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals.
Submission of Mental Health Records to NICS and the HIPAA Privacy Rule
This report provides an overview of prohibiting mental health records under current federal law, and distinguishes those records from other types of mental health information that would not disqualify an individual from purchasing a firearm. This report also provides an overview of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and discusses potential issues arising from state and federal medical privacy laws that may impede states' efforts to submit prohibiting mental health records to NICS.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report presents policy and oversight issues for Congress arising from maritime territorial disputes involving China in the South China Sea (SCS), East China Sea (ECS), and an additional dispute over whether China has a right under international law to regulate U.S. and other foreign military activities in its maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses the recent development regarding the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. It provides background information on Iranian nuclear program and debates the November 24 Joint Plan of Action Elements.
What Is the Farm Bill?
This report describes the Farm Bill (P.L. 110-246, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008), which was enacted into law on June 18, 2008.
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program
This report discusses the federally-mandated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program for controlling stormwater discharges from industrial plants and municipalities.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996, which authorized a drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program. The program was intended to help public water systems finance infrastructure projects that were needed to comply with federal drinking water regulations and to meet the Act's health objectives. It includes an overview of funding, allotments and set-asides, drinking water infrastructure needs, program issues, and legislative activity.
Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector's Energy Use
This report provides background on energy for facilities that treat and deliver water to end users and also dispose of and discharge wastewater. This report first discusses water-related energy use broadly and then energy for facilities that treat and deliver water to end users and also dispose of and discharge wastewater.
U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation on nuclear energy and nonproliferation that has grown in recent years along with closer bilateral economic, military, and diplomatic ties.
Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Plant and Plutonium Disposition: Management and Policy Issues
This report discusses the control of surplus nuclear weapons material that became an urgent U.S. foreign policy goal with the end of the Cold War and breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
S. 1961 and H.R. 4024: Legislative Responses to a Chemical Storage Facility Spill
This report describes and analyzes the Chemical Safety and Preparedness Act and H.R. 4024, the Ensuring Access to Clean Water Act of 2014.
Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs).
Energy and Water Development: FY2014 Appropriations
This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC), which are special contracting mechanisms that Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use for a limited number of defense acquisition programs. Compared to the standard or default approach of annual contracting, MYP and BBC have the potential for reducing weapon procurement costs by several percent.
The Domestic Terrorist Threat: Background and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on how domestic terrorism is conceptualized by the federal government and issues involved in assessing this threat's significance.
Free Exercise of Religion by Secular Organizations and Their Owners: Implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
This report examines the constitutional and statutory protections related to free exercise of religion, including current Supreme Court interpretations, as well as judicial and legislative avoidance of defining the parameters of religious belief. It also discusses significant examples of existing religious exemptions in current law, such as employment nondiscrimination, health care, and public accommodations law. Finally, it analyzes recent federal judicial decisions that have considered the religious freedom rights of commercial entities whose owners have religious objections to the contraceptive coverage requirement.
Vulnerable Youth: Federal Mentoring Programs and Issues
This report begins with an overview of the purpose of mentoring, including a brief discussion on research of structured mentoring programs. It then describes the evolution of federal policies on mentoring since the early 1990s and provides an overview of the components and funding for each of two recent (discontinued) federal mentoring programs, as well as a discussion of other federal mentoring initiatives that are currently funded.
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2014 budget requests $5,285.3 million in procurement and advance procurement (AP) funding for the program. Decisions that Congress makes on procurement of Virginia-class boats could substantially affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat
This report describes homegrown violent jihadists and the plots and attacks that have occurred since 9/11. It also outlines actions underway to build trust and partnership between community groups and government agencies and the tensions that may occur between law enforcement and engagement activities.
Considering Legislation on the House Floor: Common Practices in Brief
This report provides a brief overview that describes the most common ways legislation is considered on the House floor, the types of questions most likely to be voted on, and the opportunities for legislative debate that are most frequently used by Members.
Federal Labor Relations Statutes: An Overview
This report provides a brief history and overview of the aims of these statutes: the Railway Labor Act (RLA) enacted in 1926, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS). It also discusses key provisions for each statute.
Unlawfully Present Aliens, Driver's Licenses, and Other State-Issued ID: Select Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of key legal issues raised by state laws regarding the denial or issuance of driver's licenses and other forms of ID to unlawfully present aliens, as well as by state and local approaches to recognizing foreign-issued ID documents.
Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report discusses the current status of Central Asian states and U.S. policy, which has been aimed at facilitating their cooperation with U.S. and NATO stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and their efforts to combat terrorism, proliferation, and trafficking in arms, drugs, and persons.
Genetic Testing: Scientific Background for Policymakers
This report discusses bills addressing genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment; personalized medicine; the patenting of genetic material; and the oversight of clinical laboratory tests (in vitro diagnostics), including genetic tests.